Defining Ideas

Defining Ideas

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Are We On The Verge Of Civil War? Some Words Of Reassurance

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Defining Ideas
Friday, September 28, 2018

Recent articles here and here by Victor Davis Hanson—my colleague at the Hoover Institution--paint a frightening picture of the United States as a country teetering on the edge of civil war.  In addition to being an exceptional prose stylist, Hanson is an active combatant in today’s political wars, so his impressions are understandable. As a data guy and a noncombatant, however, I am happy to report that the available data provide grounds for feeling much more sanguine about the state of our country.  

Herbert Hoover Subject Collection, Envelope BBBB, Hoover Institution Archives

Jill Lepore’s Slanted Truths

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, September 24, 2018

Her uncritical embrace of progressive theory does not survive close examination.

Trump Buries The Old-World Order

by Victor Davis Hansonvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

A moribund global system meets a fitting end.

The Bezos Busters

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, September 17, 2018

The antitrust attacks on Amazon are an outdated form of liberal populism.

The Perils Of Compulsory Labor Arbitration

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, September 10, 2018

The Supreme Court should stop California before it sets a dangerous national norm.

The Intellectual Poverty Of The New Socialists

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Forgetting the lessons of history.

The Consequences Of Land Ownership

by Gary D. Libecapvia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A comparison between the United States and Latin America shows the power of property rights.

California Flies Blind On Testing: The Troubling Saga Of The State’s ‘Smarter Balanced Test’

by Williamson M. Evers, Ze’ev Wurmanvia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, August 28, 2018

From 1999 to 2013, California had a standard test (STAR – Student Testing And Reporting) to assess our students on California Standards in English Language Arts, Math, the Sciences, and Social Sciences. Within its first few years, the test format stabilized, and for the rest of its life, it remained essentially unchanged -- regularly releasing a fraction of its items to educate the students and parents about the expectations from our students and offering stable longitudinally comparable scaled scores.

Not Obama's Economy

by Richard A. Epsteinvia Defining Ideas
Monday, August 27, 2018

Trump’s domestic economic programs have led to growth in spite of foolish trade policies.

Social Security’s Downward Spiral

by Charles Blahousvia Defining Ideas
Thursday, August 23, 2018

The program promises benefits far in excess of its projected revenues. Why haven't lawmakers acted? 


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Richard Epstein
Richard Epstein presents his classically libertarian perspective on national developments in public policy and the law. The Libertarian archives »


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With its distinct intellectual assets and ongoing programs of policy-oriented research, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University is a uniquely distinguished contributor to the marketplace of ideas.

Defining Ideas builds on the strength of Hoover’s research: publishing on-line the original work of Hoover fellows and affiliated scholars, as well as that of task force and working group members, whose scholarship lies within the fields of economics, history, law, and political science.

This online journal is the result of our concerted efforts to be part of America’s most important conversations, conveying to the public and to lawmakers an in-depth understanding of key public policy issues. Crucial to this effort is a commitment to develop enduring solutions for the challenges that face our nation and our world—in effect, to advance ideas defining a free society.

Throughout history, ideas have had consequences for the human condition, both beneficial and detrimental. The Hoover Institution’s working groups have been convened to promote ideas that advance freedom, peace, and prosperity. Defining Ideas is intended to illuminate the work of these groups.



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The opinions expressed in Defining Ideas are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hoover Institution or Stanford University.